Projecting KC Royals prospects: No. 9 Jonathan Bowlan

The KC Royals have a heap of pitching prospects they hope will turn out, and this prospect is one more who is showing what he has to offer.

Welcome back to the Kings of Kauffman “Projecting the Prospects” series for 2020. We’ll be reviewing each of the KC Royals organization’s top 30 prospects and projecting the best, worst, and most likely scenarios for the upcoming season. Today, we are taking a look at pitching prospect, Jonathan Bowlan.

Jonathan Bowlan comes in at number 9 on the MLB Pipeline’s prospect rankings after being number 16 last season. Bowlan was one of the many pitchers the Royals picked up in the 2018 draft, and he has gotten to work quickly, showing what he has during his time in the minors.

Bowlan worked his way through both A and A+ ball in 2019 and looked good doing it, holding an ERA of 3.14, with a strikeouts per 9 of 9.2, and a walks per 9 of 1.4 between both leagues. Adding to his impressive stat line, Bowlan also threw a no-hitter for the Wilmington Blue Rocks on July 15th, 2019.

MLB Pipeline lists Bowlan as a good possibility to be a starter in the majors that can work a lot of innings. And, while he still needs to refine some pitches like his slider, his control is rarely called into question, which can be seen through his stats.

Best case scenario:

Bowlan continues his success on the mound and his control remains a strong point of his resume. As long as he can build off what he has already done and can refine his pitches just a bit more, Bowlan could smash his way through AA during the 2020 season, and even jump to AAA for some time before the season is over.

With continued success, it’s not out of the question to believe Bowlan could see at least a short amount of time in the majors come 2021.

Worst case scenario:

The biggest setback for Bowlan right now would be regression. He has done a good job so far of showing continued progression and ability to work through the minor league system so a step away from this would not be in his favor. While a year of regression would not necessarily count him out for a future Royals rotation spot, it would certainly set his timeline back.

If his stable control begins to fail him and he can’t place his pitches correctly, Bowlan could see a little more time at lower level ball before getting his chance to move on.

Most likely scenario:

Bowlan will likely see a good deal of the year in AA. He proved during the 2019 season that he could continue to move up, and the Royals will want to see how he fairs in higher level ball. There could be some slight struggle at first, as is typical with players moving through different levels of the minor leagues, but they likely won’t last long.

Control is a strong point for Bowlan, and it’s likely this will remain. By continuing to progress with his pitches in 2020, it’s likely Bowlan will see AAA in 2021, if not a little in 2020, and be ready to see time in Kansas City late during the 2021 season.

Next: The three KC Royals prospects that need promoted ASAP

Bowlan could be a future star on the Royals rotation if he continues on the path he has been following. Continue to follow along as we keep working through the top 30 prospects.

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